Essay:The "wisdom" of PJR
Wisdom of PJR
I've put this little assemblage of quotes together to show some of the errors in reasoning common to even the sharpest members of the cp family. PJR, known for his reasoned approach to conflict and seemingly rational arguments, is perhaps more dangerous than most of his compatriots for this selfsame reason. Rather than fall back on the more logical argument of "that's just what I believe---it's a matter of faith", he continues with irrational apologetics, attempting to uncomfortably squeeze reality into his little Christian box. So I basically put this together because I was pissed (in the American sense of the word). I will add to this list as I feel like it. It's easy to like PJR due to his less aggressive nature, but he is first and foremost a theocrat.
“”In very general terms:
What a load of bullshit! The bible cannot be exempted from skeptical and rational inquiry just because you want it to be. You cannot carve a chuck out of reality and say to science, "Here, but no further."
“”Whether or not evolution is also falsifiable is an integral part of the issue. Because the issue is over history, and the past is not available for testing, hence non-falsifiable.
Once again, bullshit. This past is available for examination, hence fossils. Evolution is not simply about the past, but also the present and the future. It makes successful predictions.
“”However, that doesn't preclude many supporting details being falsifiable, for ID, for creation, and for evolution. ID is falsifiable because it makes specific, testable, propositions. The same applies for creation (and the same applies for evolution).
Name one specific, testable, falsifiable proposition made by ID, creation, or any other steaming pile of pseudoscience. ...crickets...
“”Mr. Schlafly and all fellow Conservapedians, I would like to wish all of you a very merry Christmas on this joyous day. I thank you all for your prayers and support during my own troubles earlier this year, it was something that brought me closer to God and made me realise how very precious life, all life, is. I hope we all have it in our hearts to look out for our fellow human beings wherever they may be. Although Lucy and myself can no longer have children we have sponsored three orphans in Africa, Asia and South America to help them through their education and give them hope for the future. We no longer give each other presents at Christmas but instead support charities that provide education, clean water and medical help to children in the third world. I encourage other Conservapedians to think of those less fortunate than themselves at this time of year as I am sure that we are all comparatively blessed compared with those poor souls who through no fault of their own have to provide for a family on only $1 a day or less. God bless you all. BrianCo
A sad and moving statement from one human being to his fellow cp'ians. I'm sure he'll receive n response whose compassion matches his eloquence.
“”Mr. Schlafly, faith is indeed a wonderful thing and can bring forth miracles. However, there are many poor people who however much they pray will not be able to protect and take care of their loved ones. I am sure that, like myself, you are able to afford private health care or if necessary would write a check rather than rely on God's response no matter how much you trusted in His beneficence, for surely God has given us the responsibility to take care of ourselves and our family as best we can without having to call on him at every turn.
To the left is a photograph that I took on my recent vaction in Mexico at the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico's most holy shrine. In the foreground is a mother holding her infant child (which you cannot see). She is crawling on her knees across the courtyard, clutching her daughter and prostrating herself after every step in the hope that God will intervene and save her sickly child. My wife was most distraught about this. For many poor people it is not mental or spiritual problems that cause their suffering but the burden of everyday survival. This is a very real instance where a cash donation could help someone, in particular a child with great potential, who could later go forth in the world and do some good.This is a despair that most of us in Europe or North America could not even hope to fully comprehend. Jesus preached love and, I think, the finest adage for life, Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. If I was a poor Mexican (or any other nationality) with a sickly child I would be exceedingly grateful for a charitable donation and would give thanks to The Lord if someone would help me in my time of need. Surely this is one of the lessons of the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is why I urge all Christians with a conscience to help their fellow human beings. The priest who visited me in hospital often used the phrase "What would Jesus do?". I think that considering this before we make any decision would truly make us all better human beings, especially on this occasion of his birthday. May the blessings of Christ be upon you, all your family and everyone of us. BrianCo 13:35, 25 December 2007 (EST)
More rational eloquence from Brian. Very moving.
“”Thanks for the picture and compelling plea, Brian! I'm all for it. I'm also all for giving the powerful gifts of faith and truth that enable people to overcome their mental and spiritual difficulties. In our world today obesity is a bigger problem than starvation, and mental anguish is a greater epidemic than material needs. I'm for giving for material needs, and do so. I'm also for giving in a meaningful way to help spiritual and mental needs, which sadly too many materialists either ignore or deny.--Aschlafly 15:37, 25 December 2007 (EST)
Thanks, assfly, for once again showing what a misanthropic ass you are.
“”Mr. Schlafly, I am in complete agreement with your verdict on mental and spiritual difficulties. However, I think that clean water and basic health care cannot simply be dismissed as "material needs", it's not like color televisions or air-conditioning. Although the Indian Ocean tsunami three years ago caused great loss of life, if just a fraction of the money spent on providing an earthquake early-warning system was directed to providing clean water, a much greater number of lives could be saved. God bless. BrianCo 16:02, 25 December 2007 (EST)
Just to recap, Brian thanked the community for its spiritual support in his time of need, and rather than focusing on his own difficulties, encouraged his fellows to think of those who are so in need that then cannot provide for the basic materials for life. The response to his entreaty was, "fuck materialists, pray for their souls." Now, listen as the heels of the jackboots slap firmly together...
“”"However, there are many poor people who however much they pray will not be able to protect and take care of their loved ones.": Are you saying that prayer (or, more precisely, the God to Whom they are praying) is ineffective?
Providing for material needs (and yes, clean water is, technically at least, a "material" need), is important, but it only helps for ones' lifetime. Providing for ones' spiritual needs is vastly more important, because it helps for eternity. Of course, providing material help can open the recipient to receiving spiritual help also, so the two go hand in hand. See this interview for an interesting insight into this.Philip J. Rayment 19:39, 25 December 2007 (EST)
So clean water is only good if it helps you find Jeezuz?
“”Well I assume that's exactly what he's saying. Don't forget that there have been several double blind controlled trials of prayer on sickness however there have been no positive correlations between prayer and improving of sickness. In fact the group who knew they were being prayed for actually suffered worse then the control group and the group who was prayed for. So the only observed benefits of prayer are placebo effects. Bolly 15:35, 26 December 2007
“”I don't think that's true. I recall seeing studies that prayer did help patients, even strangers, who were being prayed for. As I recall some people were more effective at praying for others.--Aschlafly 23:41, 25 December 2007 (EST)
Andy and his famous "recall". I wonder if he has ever read anything that wasn't published in JPANDS. But now comes the real errors of logic for which PJR is justly famous.
“”I also recall seeing reports of studies showing that prayer did help, but even if that's not true, I think such studies are inherently "unsafe" (in the validity sense). Anybody taking part is such a study are doing so knowingly, so are praying not because they care for the person concerned, but because they are required to as part of the study. Prayer is talking to God, in this case asking God to heal the person. The point being that it is God, not the prayer, that does the healing. God doesn't automatically answer prayers like a robot, and God, by definition, knows everything, so He knows that the prayers are, in a sense, 'insincere'. So a study that failed to find a correlation wouldn't actually prove anything, because God is not "blind" like the participants. Philip J. Rayment 02:29, 26 December 2007 (EST)
So, the intervention of "intercessory prayer" is not subject to rational investigation like any other intervention. Once again, PJR carves out an area of reality that is immune to scientific inquiry for no other reason than he says so.
“”When I say prayer, I mean other people praying for a sick person. If it was the sick person praying then it is probable that he/she would have better results then others due to the placebo affect. But how do you know that the prayer groups were insincere? If they were good christians then surely they would really wish for these people to get better and the prayers would be sincere? Or do you worship a God who deliberately lets people suffer just so as to avoid proving his own existence? Sounds kinda fishy to me. Bolly 9:18, 27 December 2007
Personally, I'll go with choice no. 2. Now for the climax. Mmm mmm.
“”I realised that you meant people praying for someone else who was sick. I put "insincere" in quote marks, because it perhaps wasn't the best word. What I meant was that they were not praying for the sick person because they were sick, but because they were taking part in a study. The study, being double-blind, surely means that the pray-ers didn't know the people they were praying for. So the pray-ers were not praying because they had a personal interest in the sick person, but simply because they were part of a study. So their motivation was not the normal motivation for prayer. Yes, if they were good Christians (I wonder how the researchers ensured that?) they would surely really want the sick to be well, but as I said, God is not a robot to automatically answer prayers. If He was, I could simply pray right now, "God please heal everyone right now", and instantly put all doctors and nurses out of work. But that's not the way God works. He provided a perfect world for us, and we wrecked it, so we wear the consequences. As individuals, or even as nations, we can ask God for help, and He often will help, but it depends on things such as our sincerity, earnestness, and willingness to do what He wants. God has already provided plenty of evidence for His existence, so that aspect is not an issue. He already lets people suffer, because to prevent all suffering would be to negate the effects of our own decisions, and that means destroying free will, one of the greatest gifts He gave us. Philip J. Rayment 19:57, 26 December 2007 (EST)
Once again, we have a cruel, distant God who enjoys suffering enough to refuse to show even the barest hint of his compassion or existence. That's not a God I want to know. He recycles many of the same canards used by the faithful to explain why their god never, ever shows himself. Ever. But the real problem with this is the continued argument that prayer, as an intervention, is inherently un-study-able---as usual he wants it both ways. Religious ideas are rational, but not, um, rational enough to look at too closely. He is like a forty-year old who doesn't admit that he needs bifocals---he holds god further away from his face, hoping the words will become more clear with distance.